Universal Was The Only Major Studio To Increase Profits In 2012
The four of the five top grossing movies at the box office in 2012 belonged to Disney (Marvel’s The Avengers), Warner Bros. (The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), and Sony (Skyfall), and yet, according to a new report, those studios were among the five major film companies that went reported a decrease in profits from 2011 to 2012 … and the only major studio that went up from the previous year didn’t have a movie on the list.
That would be Universal Pictures and its parent company NBCUniversal, which – according to The Hollywood Reporter – reported an uptick of 229 percent from $24 million in 2011 to $79 million last year. “The flop Battleship apparently wasn't a big-enough drag to hurt the overall picture,” the trade reports. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts spoke to the trades via a conference call about "stronger box-office performance in film" and added, "We’re also reinvigorating our franchises in the film business." Coincidentally, we reported on that shift in thinking at Universal earlier, with a new emphasis on existing series like Bourne, The Mummy and a possible sequel to Identity Thief.
But the other five major studios weren't as successful. Much like Universal, Viacom’s Paramount Pictures celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2012, but still posted a 10.3% drop in film unit operating profits. Warner Bros., with two massive performers in the final Batman and the first Hobbit movie, only reported a 3.3% decline – but a decline, nonetheless. Why? As the trade notes, the classic Hollywood companies lost some steam due to the rise of mini-majors like Lionsgate, whichnotched big wins thanks to Twilight and The Hunger Games. The tides might not be turning completely, but these reports are always an interesting read of the tea leaves. We’ll see how the studios continue to operate as 2013 chugs along.
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